Review: Face Raiders is almost reason enough to buy a 3DS

One of the 3DS’s best surprises is its sense of humor. A lighthearted, playful atmosphere runs through all the built-in software, from Mii Plaza to the Music Player to all the AR games–but it reaches new heights in its Ace-Up-the-Sleeve, Face Raiders.

This is an odd one to review; if you’ve bought a 3DS, you already own the game. If you haven’t made the jump yet, then Face Raiders is a $250 game that comes with a 3DS attached. But this little gem is one of Nintendo’s most clever creations, and it deserves its own review.

Simple, addictive and insane’as if Wario created a caffeinated mix of the movie Time Bandits and the Toy Story Mania ride–this game could only come from the folks who brought us princess-saving plumbers dressed like raccoons. It begins by prompting you to take a picture of your own face, so that you can witness the surreal sight of your own mug possessed and animated by alien forces”¦and then taunting you mercilessly so that you’re more than willing to pummel it with tennis balls.

From there, you can have the game swipe faces from your friends, family, co-workers, pets”¦people sleeping on the bus”¦but the real fun starts when you use the internet to bring up faces of anyone and anything to import as alien invaders. The results are bizarre, hilarious, and very, very entertaining (Infendo’s Eugene recently posted a great list of possibilities).

And then the game sends out tiny aliens to steal faces from your photo library! The software is smart enough to go into your photos and crop faces to surprise you with! If this feature creeps you out, you can disable it, but it definitely pushes an already bonkers experience into the stratosphere.

Best of all, the game is incredibly fun to play. Twisting and turning like a loon as you aim the screen to fend off smirking attackers turns out feel as fun and natural as a Wii Sports event. The tennis balls go right where you want ”˜em to. The frame rate is all over the map, but you’ll be having so much fun you probably won’t even notice.

The game starts out simply, but quickly ramps up in challenge and difficulty, including many puzzle-like goals to add replay value. And it all just keeps getting stranger and funnier.

Face Raiders is a game you probably won’t play more than ten minutes or so at a time, but with new devious surprises unveiled with each level, and the limitless possibilities of guest-star attackers, it’s one that’ll keep you coming back.

Nintendo, I would gladly pay full cartridge price for an equally fun sequel with more content.

My only fear is that this game will cause me to wear out the A button.